Telecommuting is the action of replacing travel with electronic communication (allowing workers to work from home as opposed to the conventional method of driving in every day). Once reserved for a select few, many are now turning to telecommuting as a money saving function of business that may also serve to protect the environment. Let's take a look at telecommuting more in depth to see how.

By allowing workers to work from home instead of driving (or taking public transportation) to work, here are just a few of the ways this can improve business, clean up the environment and improve the world as we know it:

· Savings in Oil – Telecommuting keeps cars off the roads. Cars consume over 136 billion gallons of gasoline every year out of which some 60% is imported. At present full time telecommuters save 4.4 million gallons per year (and rising).

· Reduced Pollution – Automobile exhaust contains a plethora of pollutants known to cause humans health problems. As car usage is reduced because of telecommuting, pollutants are reduced in turn making the environment healthier for everyone.

· Lower Traffic Congestion – For every new telecommuter a car is taken off the road during the morning, lunch and evening rush hours reducing congestion and decreasing travel times for those still required to use the road.

· Less Road Construction and Maintenance – As local, state and federal governments struggle under the ever growing financial burden of expanding the highway and road systems, they also struggle to keep the current roads in good repair. Each telecommuter reduces this burden by virtue of keeping their cars off the roads.

· Employment – Telecommuters can pass the transportation savings on to their employers as a reduction in wages as an incentive for employers to hire them. Employers can reduce overhead and office space by hiring telecommuters and as an incentive in turn - hire more of them.

· Already used by Big Business – Many states are offering telecommuting job incentives (tax credits) to employers and many large corporations (such as Royal Caribbean and IBM) already heavily leverage telecommuting as part of their business strategy.

· Disaster Recovery – Companies that allow their employee's to telecommute distribute their work base and by virtue of doing so can better weather disasters such as strikes, power outages, epidemics, etc. as only a small portion of the work force is affected during any given event.

There are many other benefits to be had by implementing telecommuting but not everyone is on board. Many companies are run under one of two distinct management styles. The first, oldest and most difficult to overcome is termed "management by observation".


Management by observation is basically management of employee's through observation of their presence at a physical location during defined hours ensuring they appear to be doing the work and tasks expected of them.

Then there is "management by objectives". Management by objectives is where management and employee's define goals, objectives and timelines to direct the desired work outcomes. Each has their pros and cons which could be debated infinitum.

Suffice it to say, telecommuting lends itself more a management by objective work style where employees don't need to be observed so long as they continue to meet the goals, objectives and timelines defined by management.

Telecommuting continues to grow in popularity as the financial gains can be realized almost instantly with little (and in some cases) no cost involved up front making it very lucrative for employers who are willing to let go of the management by observation work style.

These types of improvements stand to go a long way in allowing corporations to become more competitive in a competitive age.